Studies and Reports

Hospitality and Hostility in Genesis 19 and Judges 19

HOSPITALITY AND HOSTILITY IN GENESIS 19 AND JUDGES 19

VICTOR H. MATTHEWS

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Based upon the protocol of hospitality customs outlined in my study of Judges 4 (BTB 21:1 [Spring, 1991], 13-21; see CHART at end of this article), it seems evident that the writer(s) of Genesis 19 and Judges 19 has (have) deliberately created scenes in which the code of conduct is systematically violated. This may be part of a deliberate theme contrasting the “flawed,” but valiant ancestor with towns and their inhabitants whose violations of custom justify their destruction. It may also be part of an attempt, especially in the case of Judges 19, to portray a “topsy-turvy” world in which all customs are ignored or corrupted in an effort to justify the establishment of the monarchy in Israel. In the course of the study, an attempt is made to point out the violations of the hospitality code as they occur and to explain, where possible, the reasons, both within the text and in the context of anthropological research, why they occur.